When President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech, I often hear him saying, “If you destroy my children, I will kill you!”
The most recent speech I heard him say it was during the induction of Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman Dante Jimenez at Malacañang Palace.
Our dear President is referring to the persistent problem of drugs, as it destroys many innocent children. Countless lives have been ruined, dreams shattered, families broken and futures left in the dark.
The words uttered were always meant if our beloved country and our young children are at risk of being destroyed.
The order was not meant to kill innocent people. It was obviously for those committing violent crimes and placing people’s lives at stake.
What is not being realized, or is not reaching the awareness of our President, are the problems in Philippine sports, which have been in existence for a long time especially in swimming.
In fact, Philippine swimming is sinking, destroyed due to corruption, which has been tolerated by our sports leaders in the government sports agency, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), as well as the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
What are the consequences now, especially on all of those who have, in effect, killed generations of young athletes psychologically, mentally and emotionally, with their dreams destroyed?
A young swimmer, Jasmine Mojdeh, who is only 11 years old, is one of the Philippine Swimming League’s (PSL) most bemedalled young swimmers. She recently broke the Philippine junior national record in 200-meter butterfly and several records in international competitions. Right now, her dreams and future are being destroyed.
The National Sports Association in swimming is the Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSi). In selecting swimmers for the national team, PSi requires that swimmers be members of their association.
In other words, non-members like Jasmine Mojdeh are automatically disqualified in the selection process despite the fact that they hold the best times in the Philippine record. This membership policy is not only discriminatory but also unconstitutional as it contravenes some provisions in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, i.e., state policy on the vital role of the youth and for the protection of their physical, moral and social well-being, the provision on equal protection of laws guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and the promotion and development of amateur sports, including training for international competitions, and fostering self-discipline, teamwork and excellence for the development of a healthy citizenry.
Moreover, this discriminatory and unconstitutional policy of PSi does not heed the call of President Rodrigo Duterte for inclusive growth and development.
What is even worse is that PSi has been receiving funding assistance from PSC despite the fact that the association, through its president Mark Joseph, is facing criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan and thus, should not be considered as a sports association in “good standing” with the PSC. Joseph appointed Lani Velasco to be the officer in charge and now leads PSi.
Worst of all, PSC officials have practically turned their blind eyes on those discriminatory and unconstitutional acts of PSi by continuously extending funding support to this association whose head is indicted for graft and corruption by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Clearly too, the PSC has abandoned its power under Section 11 of Republic Act 6847 to “exercise supervisory and visitorial powers over the national sports association in connection with their sports promotion and development programs with respect to which financial assistance in extended by the Commission.”
No doubt, the dismal state of the Philippine sports in general and swimming in particular is the result of PSC’s disregard of its mandate under the law to promote, encourage and sustain the development of sports in the country.
How about all the money that was pocketed by all those in cahoots with each other for decades, a practice that still happens today?
Let us victims be heard because our issues and complaints as well as expośes and cries have been covered up and ignored!